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Rights of the Accused

Article 19 of Iraqi Law Number 10 of 2005 (PDF, 2.21MB) sets out the rights of the accused.  According to the general principles of the Iraqi legal system, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.  Article 19 stipulates that every accused has the right to have a public trial pursuant to the Iraqi law and procedural rules of the Tribunal.  Further, when charges are filed, an indictee is entitled at the very least:

  1. to be immediately informed of the substance, details, nature and reasons of the charges.
  2. to be given time and assistance sufficient to permit him to prepare a defense including contacting and meeting in private with a lawyer of his choosing.
  3. to have a speedy trial.
  4. to be informed of the right to financial assistance to hire a lawyer if the defendant is not financially capable of doing so.
  5. to call defense and prosecution witnesses with the right to confront them.
  6. to have the right to remain silent without consequences of guilt or innocence.

Procedural Rules

In investigating, prosecuting, and adjudicating the cases that fall within its jurisdiction, the Tribunal applies the procedural rules of the Iraqi Criminal Procedures Code (PDF, 2.13MB) and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.  The rules were appended to Iraqi Law Number 10 of 2005 (PDF, 2.21MB).  It is interesting to note that the Iraqi legal system does not have a jury system and holds no separate hearings for sentencing.

Appellate Process

Pursuant to articles 25 and 26 of Iraqi Law Number 10 of 2005 (PDF, 2.21MB), the relevant persons or the public prosecutor may object to charges filed by the Investigative Judge or the verdict rendered by the trial chamber.  The objection should be filed with the Cassation Chamber in the form of an appeal based on one or more of the following grounds:

  • Violation of law or error in its interpretation;
  • Violation of procedure; or
  • Material error of fact resulting in a miscarriage of justice.

If the Cassation Chamber rejects a verdict of innocence, it may order a new trial before the trial chamber.

In the event that fresh factual evidence that was not known during trial is discovered after the conclusion of the trial, the defendant or the public prosecutor may petition the Tribunal for a new trial.

Enforcement of Verdicts

Article 27 of Iraqi Law Number 10 of 2005 (PDF, 2.21MB) provides that no authority, including the President of the Republic, has the right to grant clemency or reduce the sentence pronounced by the Tribunal.  Any such sentences should be carried out within thirty days from the date the appellate process has been exhausted.

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Last Updated: 07/03/2007